Words by Sasha Holt / Michelle Martin (Visual Voice Media) & Pics by Ed Taylor (Digital Flow)
Hello fashionistas, it’s finally happened, I’m back through the wardrobe from the fashion land full of surprises, better known as The Clothes Show Live 2015.
Having visited this event a number of times before, whilst at The Clothes Show Live ’15 I was interested to see how much of the show was dedicated to sustainable fashion – whether vintage or pre owned charity pieces. In previous years the event had definitely paid homage to what I would call ‘fast fashion’, so this time around I wanted to talk to designers who try to create clothing with elements of sustainability.
Exhibitors such as All about Aud saw that core customers at The Clothes Show Live ’15 were the quality savvy fashion crowd. Audrey Taylor from All about Aud pointed out that “high street retailers are selling vintage style pieces at a fraction of the cost I could sustain”. She also highlighted the issue of fast fashion saying “throwaway fashion was a problem for the fashion industry as a whole and younger people needed re-educating as to quality of vintage garments.”
As I mentioned in a previous report, millions of tons of clothes are thrown away each year – but of the clothing that’s given away to charities, it would be interesting to discover how much that is thrown away is sold on through less than reputable sources.
One of the most interesting insights into the pre owned clothing world was from Jacqueline Seaby of Sue Ryder; this charity minimizes its rag waste (unsalable clothing) by diversifying its avenues of sale. Jacqueline told me that “in our Bristol store and a selection of others where we saw there is a market we have vintage sections managed separately from the main stock”. She also pointed out that from their distribution centre in Swindon “we can select key pieces to be sold at events and guide the merchandising of each store into what will sell. We hope to change the perception of Charity shop fashion”.
From what I saw at The Clothes Show Live this year, Sue Ryder had made great waves in doing that on their stand – with an eclectic fashion smorgasbord that wouldn’t have been out of place in a high end boutique.
Visitors to The Clothes Show Live ’15 were also supporting the vintage look. Josh Gilzeane caught my eye in a red leather 1980s jacket. He said “I adore it and it always gets comments because it looks so different.” It was also interesting to see independent designers, both burgeoning and high end using sustainable methods where possible as part of their fashion remit.
One such brand is JAM Industries. Set up three years ago, and born out of surf culture, JAM is founded and run by brothers Mark and Andy Jordan – offering “stylish good quality après surf wear” that can be “worn from Carlisle to Croydon and you don’t even need to own a wetsuit”.
At their Clothes Show Live ’15 stand, JAM Industries told me “our ethos has been simplicity and design but most of all affordable quality and comfort”. And if their products weren’t already appealing enough to me, JAM also embrace the responsibility “to be as carbon neutral as possible. And using British sourced skilled workers and materials is important”.
Even the high end designers, such as London Fashion Week darling Emilio De La Morena, have visions of creating exquisite pieces that make the wearer feel sexy and special with a nod towards sustainability and ethical fashion too.
Introduced to The Clothes Show Live ’15 audience at the Olympus Style Studio, by sustainable and eco fashion champion Hilary Alexander OBE, Emilio De La Morena talked about his “sculptural intricate pieces that envelope a woman’s every curve in lace, velvet and sequins” making his pieces “sumptuously sensual”. Emilio further stated that “where possible I source my materials from Europe, usually France and Spain, to cut down on our carbon footprint. I sometimes redevelop fabrics from previous seasons to design a completely new garment to reduce our dependence on new fabrics.”
Emilio De La Morena was also keen to highlight the kind of woman that wears his clothes, “she takes time out at the mountains or coast to enjoy the beauty around her and that inspires my collections with colours and marvels of nature.”
So from vintage retailers to designers and customers at The Clothes Show Live ’15, trying to be part of fashion in an ethical way (no matter how small) is agruably growing in momentum; maybe one day the tide will turn away from disposable fashion.
I look forward to seeing if The Clothes Show joins this clothing revolution and champions sustainable fashion at future events.
For more on The Clothes Show, visit http://www.clothesshow.com/
For more from the NEC Group, including links to listings at all venues, visit https://www.necgroup.co.uk/
For more from the Ticket Factory, visit https://www.theticketfactory.com/